Liviu's Reviews > Between the Woods and the Water

Between the Woods and the Water by Patrick Leigh Fermor
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's review
Nov 28, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: read_2011, non-fiction
Read in November, 2011

While I was very disappointed by A Time of Gifts - thinking back I guess that the author writing about his experiences of 1933 Germany with hindsight in 1977 just did not work as it make him project the upper class Englishness as a false universal in contrast with the false dawn that National Socialism seemed to many in Germany 1933 at the time - this book is wonderful.

Hungary and Transylvania come fully to life and the tension of the time between the former Hungarian masters and the Romanian majority newly in power is presented fairly to both sides - I loved the part where the history of Transylvania is presented by the author from the two perspectives which both are generally consistent and logical (and admitting that the other is like that would have been seen as treason for a Romanian or Hungarian for many years until not long ago - luckily today the 75/25 split which makes Romanians the overwhelming majority and the Nato/EU membership of both countries with free travel have cleared away many tensions), while of course contradicting each other for the most part.

Lyrical prose and for once the author stops pontificating about the wonderfulness of Englishness and just enjoys his trip and is eager to experience as much as he can.

Highly recommended as a historical snapshot of a time and place that sadly mostly vanished under the communist onslaught, though it occasionally can be glimpsed here and there

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